News ID: 259072
Published: 0247 GMT September 22, 2019

Australia offers Trump little commitment on Iran: PM

Australia offers Trump little commitment on Iran: PM
JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during a joint news conference with US President Donald Trump in the East Room of the White House in Washington, the US, on September 20, 2019.

Australia is not getting involved with the United States in its pursuit of aims in relation to Iran, beyond a commitment to freedom of navigation in the region, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said after talks with US President Donald Trump.

“There was no discussion about anything else,” Morrison, who made a state visit to the White House, told journalists, according to a transcript, Reuters reported.

“There was an appreciation of our involvement in that particular operation which … I remind everyone is about freedom of navigation in the Straits of Hormuz. That’s what that is about. The other matters that are being pursued by the United States are matters that they’re pursuing.”

Trump last week approved sending US troops to bolster Saudi Arabia’s air and missile defenses after the largest-ever attack on the kingdom’s oil facilities, which the United States has blamed on Iran. Tehran has strongly rejected the allegation.

Tension between the United States and Iran has been rising since Trump abandoned the Iranian nuclear deal last year.

Like the US plan for joint Persian Gulf naval patrols, the idea of an American-led coalition also has few takers.

The US president had signaled he would raise with Morrison a possible military contribution in the Persian Gulf region, although later he said the topic had not been discussed.

Back in August, Australia joined the US-led International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC) in support of freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz.

“I made it very clear when we announced our involvement in that arrangement that it was very much about that freedom of navigation issue and that’s what it is about and that’s appreciated,” said the Australian prime minster.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne also denied in August that her country was being dragged into a broader conflict against Iran by Trump, as it joined the US-proposed mission on shipping lanes in the Middle East.

The prime minister, at the time, announced Australia would commit a warship, a surveillance plane and defense planning personnel to the US-led mission in the Strait of Hormuz.

Morrison said a significant amount of Australia's crude and refined oil traveled through the region, and it was in the "national interest" to join the United States, the United Kingdom and Bahrain in the area.

 

   
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